Australians spent over $62 billion dollars online in 2021, and it’s projected to double in the next five years. That means almost every Australian is shopping online — and more than ever, business owners are increasingly aware of how important their websites are to their businesses.
So how long does it take to develop a website? Aside from obvious factors such as design and money, time is another key feature in what it takes to build a website. What goes into building it depends on the nature of the business, the functionality of the website, and the complexity of the design. That’s to say — all the options available when it comes to designing and implementing your website have an impact on how long it takes to build it.
Overall, it can take anywhere between two and six months to develop a website. How long it takes in the end depends on all the things just mentioned; the more complex the website, the longer it takes to build.
In this article, we’re looking at realistic time frames for website building for different kinds of stores (including e-commerce), as well as some of the costs associated with the different options. We’ll even jump into the DIY option and the pros and cons of just doing it yourself.
Design and planning.
Before you even venture into buying a domain or designing your landing page, you’re going to need a website developer. Unless you plan to do it yourself, someone is going to have to facilitate the design and execution of your website. A lot of communication happens in this stage of web development, whereby the client and the developer get to know each other, make clear goals, talk about website features, and start designing.
Website design means many things! The kind of things you’ll be talking about with a website developer during the design stage include:
- What you want to sell (product, service, etc.)
- Colours, images, videos and fonts
- Website copywriting and tone of voice
- Functionality aspects (think subscription services, etc.)
- Important backend aspects such as email addresses, domain names, and databases
Every business owner has different needs, and all of these aspects of design will vary in some way from one business to the next. So as you can imagine, even just the planning and design phase can take quite a lot of time. By the time some people enter the design stage with a developer, they already have some idea of what they’re looking for. For others, it’s a clean slate.
Once you’ve found your website developer, we estimate that design and planning takes between 1 and 4 weeks.
The action plan.
Now you and your website designer have communicated about what you would like to build, but it’s still all conceptual. It’s now up to the team of website developers to transform those ideas into something tangible that the client can see and experience.
At this stage, the designer will create something like a ‘blueprint’ of the website. The designer will provide in-depth design features to ensure that they meet the client’s expectations. There is typically more than one action plan in this blueprint so that you can make revisions or explore options.
How long it takes for this communication to take place depends on how good you and your team of website designers are at communicating! We estimate that developing the action plan takes 1-2 weeks, but it can take longer if communication is sub-optimal.
Mockups, feedback, and revisions.
The blueprint finally comes to life when the website developer starts producing mockups. These mockups are also sometimes known as wireframes. For all intents and purposes, they are extremely simplified versions of a website. From a client perspective, this is when you get to see and visualise exactly where buttons, images, and text will appear on different pages.
Depending on the complexity of your website and the business you’re starting, you might have asked your website developer to create only one website page — you may have asked them to create all your website pages. In either case, they should provide you with a mockup of every single page that they will be producing for you.
At this stage, telling your developer what you like, what you don’t, and what you’re unsure about is crucial. It’s also easy to change things at this stage because nothing has been formally developed. It becomes harder to change things later — so now is the time for all the feedback you’ve got.
After your feedback, the website designer should continue to make necessary revisions until you’ve both settled on the final product. This can take from 1-4 weeks.
The development stage.
Finally, the development stage is where much of the work happens for the designer. This is when everything is transformed from a mockup into a fully functional website. This includes back end things, such as databases, if required, and front end things such as website copy and photographs.
Some websites are extremely easy and the concept transfers into functionality extremely easily. Other websites are extremely complex, and developers can encounter hurdles on the way. Typically, these setbacks are factored into time estimates because website developers know that nothing ever goes as planned.
During this time, you should hear regularly from your website designer updating you with different stages as they are being worked on or when they are completed. It’s important that you both maintain regular contact while the website is being developed.
The development stage can take up to 2 months, depending on what’s required for the website to go live.
Testing, revision and optimisation.
Once the website has been developed and both you and the website designer believe it’s complete, it’s time to test and optimise the site. You might send a few of your friends in to try important features on the site to ensure everything is working okay, for example. You might be making sure different features of the website communicate with each other in the expected way in the live environment.
Only minor changes are expected during the testing stage — there should be no real major changes to the website’s features. However, to optimise the site, small changes can be made. Issues can be identified and fixed before the website is officially launched.
Testing and revision shouldn’t take any longer than a couple of weeks, as this is really just to finalise already-made decisions.
Ongoing website development.
The truth is — this is probably not where your relationship with your website developer ends. The internet is a constantly changing place, and as a business grows and expands, there are ongoing maintenance needs of the website. You would never simply build a restaurant but never clean it, and the same concept applies to your website.
There’s often ongoing work that has to be done to maintain the website’s efficiency. There may also be cosmetic changes further down the line you wish to make. In either case, your website developer will be there to pick up where they left off.
How much does it cost to build a website?
This is not an easy question to answer, as everybody’s needs are different. A musician wanting two basic landing pages and an email contact form will have significantly lesser costs than an online hardware store that has hundreds of products. There is also the question of how in-depth you want to start when it comes to building a website. The cost depends on design, quality, SEO, content, and many other things.
It can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000 to open a website. It all just really depends on the needs and goals of the business. Building e-commerce websites tends towards the more expensive end of this spectrum because they typically require a lot of pages, functions and features.
Should you do it yourself?
There are obvious pros and cons to building a website yourself. Some of the obvious pros are that it costs less, takes less time, and you can get started straight away. But on the other hand, what you save in money you might lose in quality, efficiency or functionality. What you might find is that you’re able to start the website by yourself, but that you need a professional to help you get it where you need it to be to launch.
Whether you’re starting a website from scratch or are looking for designers to work on one that already exists, the team at Unified Market has a website solution for you. Get in touch with our team of website designers and developers to get your idea onto the world wide web.